Halloween Witch Scream
Green Ghost
Mummy Grim Reaper

A pumpkin weighed 6½ kg before it was carved. It now weighs 1½ kg. What fraction of its weight has been removed?

How many ghosts are in the haunted house?
Here are some clues:
There are more than the number of days in October
There are less than the product of 7 and 5
The answer is an odd number

Seven mummies in a row
Fifteen rows plus another two
I think it's time that you should go
Because all those mummies are after you
Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy
How many mummies are chasing you?

Bat Moon
How many bats?
Clue: A square number;
More than four squared;
Less than four cubed;

Grim Reaper Count your toes and hands and feet
Multiply those three sums
Add the month when ghosts all meet
Subtract the date halloween comes.

Teacher: Tap on a window for a Halloween Starter.


Topics: Starter | Fractions | Mixed

  • Transum,
  • Here's a joke for the teacher:

    Why do mathematicians think that Halloween is the same as Christmas?

    Answer: 31 Oct = 25 Dec

    [Think number bases!]
  • S. Hale, Woodchurch HS
  • Classes really enjoyed this starter, I split the class into groups and had a quiz of the five questions. It revised a lot of different maths the only criticism is that you have six mummies in a row and not seven as said in the question.

    [Transum: The lost mummy has been found. Thanks for pointing it out]
  • Tom Howe, Barnwell Secondary School
  • A very good idea for a website because it promotes fun in maths.
  • E.Maginn, Bebington High
  • A fun starter that all my groups enjoyed!(Years 7,8+9)Pity there were only six mummies.
  • Karen, Mlps Albany Australia
  • My class and I would have liked to have had scary music accompanying the opening / clicking on windows - i.e. as it zooms in.

    [Transum:Thanks for the suggestion Karen. A clap of thunder and a little music now accompanies the opening of the windows. Best experienced with your speakers turned up high!]
  • Mrs Cranbury, Five Dock High
  • Awesome.

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
Click here to enter your comments.

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Excellent, I would like to see more like this
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Didn't really capture the interest of the students
Not for me! I wouldn't use this type of activity.

This starter has scored a mean of 3.3 out of 5 based on 475 votes.

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Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more...

Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

iPad Air

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone.

You have to hold iPad Air to believe it. It’s just 7.5 millimeters thin and weighs just one pound. The stunning Retina display sits inside thinner bezels, so all you see is your content. And an incredible amount of power lies inside the sleek enclosure. So you can do so much more. With so much less. more...

Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

This number puzzle involves nineteen numbers arranged into a hexagon. The goal of the puzzle is to rearrange the numbers so each of the fifteen rows add up to 38. It comes in a wooden style with an antique, aged look.

Keep the Maths in Christmaths with this reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

Online Maths Shop

Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers?
Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons?

Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Laptops In Lessons

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.


Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity called 'Trick or Treat'.


Student Activity

But if it is something less mathematical with a Halloween theme you want:


Student Activity

Creative Commons Spooky sound effect (Ambient Darkness) is by D J Chronos at Freesound.org


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